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Bocca della Verità

Rome – The legend of the Mouth of Truth

The Mouth of Truth is a huge, world-famous marble mask whose legend has it that it could bite the hand of anyone who places it in its mouth. The famous large sculpture has a diameter of 1.75 meters. And it is dedicated to the God of the Sea, depicted with a bearded face and with pierced eyes, nose and mouth.

The work was located in the Piazza della Bocca della Verità until 1632. That year it was decided to wall it up in one of the walls of the pronaos of the nearby Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This is the place where it can still be admired today.

Now, there are many legends about the Bocca della Verità which, despite the passing of years and eras, continues to feed the curiosity of any visitor.

One of the most famous tells of an unfaithful woman who was led by her justifiably suspicious husband to the Mouth of Truth to be tested. And who managed to save her hand with a ruse. In fact, the indicted woman asked her lover to also show up on the day she was to be tested. She also asked him to pretend to be crazy and embrace him in front of everyone. The lover carried out her instructions perfectly. So the woman, upon slipping her hand into the Mouth, could quietly swear that she had only ever been embraced in her life by her husband and that man whom everyone had seen. Having told the truth, the woman was able to withdraw her hand from the tremendous Mouth unharmed, even though she was guilty of adultery.

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